Growing in Our Community
Did you know that a small but vibrant group of community gardeners is well underway to establish a community garden?
Are you part of, or know of, a local organization that would be interested in supporting the community garden through donations or service? The garden organizers would be especially delighted to discuss sponsorship ideas and opportunities to support local.
Are you interested in being part of the development of this exciting project, and getting involved with a great group of nice people 😊 who would love to have assistance developing deliverables to support the proposal, soliciting resources, and, when the time comes, breaking ground and (literally) building a garden.
To learn more and be aware of progress please join the Summerside Community Garden – Edmonton AB or The Orchards Garden Group – Edmonton AB on Facebook. You can also reach us by email at email@example.com.
How We Got to This Point
Germinating an Idea.
In 2019, a small group of active community members were inspired to explore the idea of a growing space in our neighbourhood. They were curious about some shared gardens and rentable garden spaces in other communities (a little ‘green’ with envy maybe?), and came across a City of Edmonton pilot program. The “Pop-up garden” program, delivered temporary raised planters into the community for the summer months. The keen group navigated the application process and in the summer of 2020 was successfully selected as one of the 29 pilot sites. The Pop-up garden was a huge hit in the neighbourhood and sowed the seeds of interest for something more permanent.
Planting the Seeds.
In 2021, the now larger group initiated the process to establish a community garden. They participated again in the Pop-up program and submitted 3 applications in hopes of having more growing opportunities. The City accepted 2 of the 3 applications (2 outta 3 ain’t bad), with gardens installed in Walker Lakes and the Orchards.
The Pop-up gardens were a great opportunity for new gardeners to grow their skills and knowledge and allowed the community and neighbours to connect. Volunteers hosted a few seed swaps along with learning sessions on “introduction to gardening” and “vermiculture and composting.”
Concept Taking Root.
While the growing group of volunteers enjoyed the Pop-ups gardens they remained rooted to the idea of something more permanent. Armed with the experience with the Pop-ups, and recruiting some subject-matter-expert-neighbours, the small group of volunteers are vigorously making their way through the steps to finalize a proposal for something permanent. They group is working closely with the City, the Community League and Sustainable Food Edmonton. They spear-headed a broad Community Engagement Survey to Identify interest and consider other activities the community could enjoy in the shared space. Survey results support a community garden in addition to sporting facilities and play spaces.
Reach for the Sun – What’s Next
It is 2022 and the group is revising their business plan to reflect the survey results and reviewing funding to support different options. The plan is to start small AND think big. The vision is to collaboratively build an evolving space where neighbours can grown their own food and give back to their community. As interest takes root and usage spreads, we hope for raised beds, a water source, shared perennial space, fruit trees and picnic site options. The vision is to create a place where gardeners and community can come together to explore growing fresh food, interact with nature and community, and integrate with other community amenities.